Good afternoon! (from here)/ Good morning! (if you read this in EST the moment I send it)
On Friday morning I travelled with my friend Tiffiny (at whose apartment in Espoo I am staying while I am in Finland) on her way to her Finnish language class. During the class break, I met her and her classmates for coffee, and one of those classmates was Nina, who is from the Republic of Georgia. Tiffiny had told me about her international class and mentioned Nina. When I was introduced, I greeted Nina in Georgian and she looked stunned. She asked if I was Georgian–I mean, who else but a Georgian would know Georgian? I explained that I was not of Georgian heritage (although I did confess to being Caucasian 🙂 ) but I was very interested in non-Indo-European languages (such as Finnish and Basque). We just became instant friends!
I booked my return flight from Helsinki-Copenhagen and the best deal I could get was 302€. I will arrive in Copenhagen just after noon on 26 April and then have the rest of the afternoon, and two full days, to explore the city. However, when I fly back, I will have a six-hour wait (!) at Copenhagen Airport before I can fly back to Finland. After I return from Rønne, Bornholm, the next flight back to Helsinki is exactly six hours later. I suppose I will spend that time writing postcards. Judging from my microscopic penmanship, I suppose that will be enough time to write two postcards. Well at least I will have plenty of time to explore the duty-free stores and pick up some Danish chocolate for some very special people.
On Friday I also purchased three train tickets. I am going to see two concerts by Scandinavian Music Group while they are on tour to support their new album. One of these shows is in Rovaniemi, the capital of Lappi (Lapland). It’s a ten-hour train ride away. I must be some fan, not only of SMG, but of Finland and train travel. I have been to Rovaniemi many times, the last time being in January 2002 when I spent the whole day in the Arktikum (Arctic Museum). Now I will get to see the sun in Rovaniemi! My next train journey will be the day immediately following the Rovaniemi concert. I will see SMG perform in the city of Jyväskylä. For both of these dates, I had already booked accommodation from home in Canada, and the band has so kindly put me on their guest list. The final train trip is of course for the trip back to Helsinki from Jyväskylä. I will be going nonstop since the following morning, I am on a plane to Copenhagen.
Friday afternoon I visited one of my favourite remaindered-books stores in Helsinki and went nuts looking through the cheap postcards. I spent about an hour sorting through boxes looking for Finnish Christmas postcards–and I found 102 of them! At 0,20 euros each, I got them for about 25 US cents apiece. It helps if you buy your Christmas cards off-season. I’ll have enough to send to all my family and friends for years to come.
I met Leslie Shannon, a friend-of-a-friend (who is now, I am happy to say, a friend of mine prepositional phrase once removed) at her apartment and we went grocery shopping, had dinner and played three fast games of Trivial Pursuit Globetrotter edition. We are both geography buffs and the games went by so quickly since we knew the answers to almost every question! Leslie won all three games, and I love this game so much I want to get it when I get home. At about 00.30 we headed out to dtm club and danced till the club closed at 04.00. Much to my surprise and delight, Arto, my friend with whom I stayed during my past two trips to Finland, showed up at the club. I was thinking he’d be on holiday and wouldn’t even be in the country. Turns out he read my E-mails and knew where to find me that night. Leslie, Arto and I went back to her place and I practically fell asleep in the middle of our chitchat. Arto left at 05.00 and then Leslie and I went to bed, getting up at 12.50.
I am now writing this from Tiffiny and Risto’s place, which is only a fifteen-minute bus ride from downtown Helsinki. I really need a shave and shower, and then I will dive into the smoked fish I bought at Maxi and S-Market. I love hiilisilakka!
It is so beautiful today. A T-shirt is all I need for outside. After I shower and eat, I’m going to sit outside and write to some of you. At the central post office in Helsinki, I got some stamp booklets with the following themes: lighthouses, Finnish composer Sibelius, and…kissing! Gotta watch who I send those stamps to!